Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Police Officer James Thomas Sawyer

Custer Police Department, South Dakota

End of Watch Tuesday, June 13, 1972

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Police Officer James Thomas Sawyer

I was employed with Custer Police Department. When I was hired, your name and circumstance of you death is always remembered.
You are a brave man and a Hero that is long remembered. RIP Brother. We will take it from here

Mark L Graf Motor Officer
Custer Police Department

August 28, 2022

Officer Sawyer,
On today, the 50th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Custer. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

June 13, 2022

Although I don't remember meeting you as I was only a toddler when you left, my mother assured me we met. My mother and siblings spoke of you so much as I was growing up that you're time spent on the Custer Police Department had a significant impact on me. I've been a deputy for 12+ years. Thank you for being kind. For being fair. For being funny. For buying that woman's orange soda on a hot July day from the machine outside the police department. In many ways I've tried to follow the example in my career of the many stories I was told of you. Rest easy and in peace. I will never forget you.

D Lake Deputy Sheriff
South Dakota

May 11, 2018

Time may have passed but you are not forgotten. I believe as long as someone remembers you or speaks your name, you are still with us.
Thank you for your heroism.
GOD Bless

Detention Officer A.Zambito

June 15, 2015

Rest in peace, my brother...

Sgt. J. Sawyer A7979
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

August 12, 2013

Thank you for your service and for helping to make America a safer place.

Deputy Brian Jones
Boulder County Sheriff's Office, CO

January 26, 2013

To fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past. Your heroism and service is honored today, the 40th anniversary year of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered. Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

November 19, 2012

Officer Sawyer you are remembered by your fellow officers of the Boston Police Department. RIP

Det. Michael Kane
Boston Police Dept.

December 13, 2010

While the Custer Police Department is no more you service to the community was not forgotten. Information about your death hangs in the Custer County Sheriff's Office along with your picture and badge.

Custer County South Dakota Deputy

April 12, 2008

"The Badge"

He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.

He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.

Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.

He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.

His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.

He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.

And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.

But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.

Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.

Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.

So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.

In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.

Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.

Written By:
David L. Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

January 24, 2008

In 1972,when I was 6 my best friend pushed me into a sticker bush in front of the bowling alley. My long hair got tangled in its branches. The owner of the bowling alley came out with some scissors to cut my hair, but you stopped him. I was screaming how my Mom was gonna kill me. You calmed me down and slowly slowly untangled my hair.
I am now 40 yrs old and I have never forgotten your face or your voice.
You were a bright shiny moment in my childhood. You were also my first crush. But you are forever my hero.

Colleen Bennett

May 21, 2007


It was my pleasure to have known you while I grew up in Custer. I believe it was your insperation that guided me to a carrer in Law Enforcement and as I near retirement, I salute and thank you for your service to the Custer community. It was truly a sad day when we learned of your passing.

God Bless

Steven Nunez
Converse County Sheriff's Dept

April 21, 2007

Officer Sawyer,
As one officer wrote in another fallen officer's reflection-"No fallen officer should be without a reflection." I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Custer.


June 14, 2005

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